Two of the world’s top chefs in France have lost one of their three Michelin stars in a continuing downgrade that has hit renowned restaurants in recent months.
Celebrity chef Guy Savoy’s eponymous restaurant in Paris suffered the ratings hit, the Michelin Guide confirmed in a statement Monday. That came after earlier reports that the latest edition of the guide for France, due to be published next week, will reveal the move.
It’s the first time the establishment on the banks of the Seine has lost the top rating it has held since 2002. Also hit was Christopher Coutanceau, a three-star establishment that specializes in seafood and is located in La Rochelle, on the southwest coast of France.
The move is yet another shocking announcement from the guide, which last October stripped three of New York’s top restaurants—Carbone, Peter Luger and Marea—of their stars. Though its impact has been questioned in recent years, the guide, which is headquartered in France, can still transform the fortunes of the restaurants it endorses.
“It’s easy to pick on Michelin, but anyone who says they lost their influence has no idea what they’re talking about,” David Kinch, who was chef-owner of the three Michelin star Manresa in Los Gatos, told Bloomberg News last year. For him, “everything changed overnight” when his restaurant was awarded a third star in 2016, which brought in non-stop reservations from first-time customers who had read about Manresa. Almost immediately, said Kinch, 25% of the dining room became diners flying in from New York City. “At any time, you would hear three different languages in the room,” he added.
But the restaurant industry is still reeling from inflationary pressures and labor shortages globally as it emerges from the shadow of the pandemic.
Manresa closed its doors in December. “Three-star restaurant dining is transitioning really hard,” Kinch said to Bloomberg. “Chefs who were used to having armies of people have had to rethink their operating manual.”
And Noma, one of the world’s most famous restaurants, announced this year that it will close by the end of 2024, calling the fine dining industry model unsustainable.
France, which has the highest number of Michelin-starred restaurants in the world, is not immune. A Michelin spokesperson said in response to queries from Bloomberg News that 27 restaurants around the country will lose stars. Besides the two 3-star restaurants that have been downgraded, five 2-star spots are moving to one-star status; and 20 one-star restaurants will be taken off the star list. The full announcement of France’s Michelin stars will come on Monday, March 6, in a live event in Strasbourg.
“We are fully aware of the impact of our decisions for the restaurants concerned,” said Michelin in its earlier statement. Readers “expect our recommendations to be serious and reliable in order to guide them in their choices,” it said.
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